Wednesday, 29 July 2020 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martha (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 John 4 : 7-16

My dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves, is born of God and knows God. Those who do not love have not known God, for God is love. How did the love of God appear among us? God sent His only Son into this world, that we might have life, through Him.

This is love : not that we loved God, but that, He first loved us and sent His Son, as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, if such has been the love of God, we, too, must love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us, and His love comes to its perfection in us.

How may we know that we live in God and He in us? Because God has given us His Spirit. We ourselves have seen, and declare, that the Father sent His Son to save the world. Those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in them, and they in God. We have known the love of God and have believed in it. God is love. The one who lives in love, lives in God, and God in him.

Tuesday, 28 July 2020 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we listened to the words of the Scripture, we are all reminded that the punishment for sins are suffering and death, and this will come about because sin is caused by disobedience and rebellion against God. And unless we turn away from our sins, we will end up falling deeper and deeper into these traps of sin, and in the end, we will be judged by those sins and by our refusal to follow the Lord and His ways.

This is what we have heard through the parable of the weeds among the wheat in a field, as we heard the Lord explaining the meaning of the parable to His disciples. In that parable we heard the enemy, the devil who spread the weeds in between the wheat and we heard how the wheat and the weeds grew together until the time of the harvest when the wheat would be harvested and the weeds would be thrown into the fire and destroyed.

The field represents all of us God’s people, on which He has sowed the seeds of faith, the seeds of His wisdom and love. But at the same time, through sin and by temptations, the devil has also spread the seeds of unfaithfulness, disobedience, doubt and other wickedness, and these seeds grow along with the faith within us. And the weeds compete with the wheat for nutrients, space, water among other things, and unless the wheat is strong, it will be outcompeted and die.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, that is exactly why all of us must heed the Lord’s call and also warnings, that we should not take our sins and disobedience lightly. For if we continue to sin, essentially what we are doing is that we are encouraging the ‘weeds’ to grow unchecked and may end up destroying the ‘wheat’ within us. God has kindly given us all the opportunities to seek redemption and forgiveness, and that is why He has not judged us based on our sins and punish us. But in due time, unless we remove from ourselves these taints of sin, then we shall have to face the consequences in full.

And the reason for all of these is God’s love, His enduring love and compassion for each and every one of us. We must remember this fact, that each and every one of us are truly precious in the eyes of the Lord, and we are so fortunate to have this loving God by our side. And yet, more often than not we rejected God’s love and compassion, His mercy and forgiveness, and continue walking down the path to ruin because we are unable to resist the temptations of the devil.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have to be strong and we must have faith in the Lord. We must overcome the temptations that are present all around us, and free ourselves from the many shackles of worldly desires and pleasures, all the distractions that have kept us away from God and prevented us from loving God and seeking Him wholeheartedly. And we should not do this alone, but with the help of God and with the assistance of our fellow brothers and sisters around us.

Let us all from now on live our lives focusing them on the right thing and looking up to the right path, no longer indulging in the false temptations and the false pleasures of Satan and the world, but instead, focusing on the true joy and happiness, fulfilment and satisfaction that we can find in the Lord alone. And let us all seek the Lord with a new spirit and fervour, that the Lord will forgive our sins and love us tenderly as He has always done, and by our sincerity in faith we will be drawn ever closer to His grace and truth.

May the Lord help us and guide us in this journey, and may He give us all the courage and strength to resist the temptations and pressures from the world, the temptation and shackles of sin and evil. May He listen to our cries for His love and be touched by our sincerity and our fervour in following Him and being faithful to Him, and may He bring us into the glory of life everlasting. Amen.

Tuesday, 28 July 2020 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 13 : 36-43

At that time, Jesus sent the crowds away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” Jesus answered them, “The One Who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world; the good seed are the people of the kingdom; the weeds are those who follow the evil one. The enemy who sows the weeds is the devil; the harvest is the end of time, and the workers are the Angels.”

“Just as the weeds are pulled up and burnt in the fire, so will it be at the end of time. The Son of Man will send His Angels, and they will weed out of His kingdom all that is scandalous and all who do evil. And these will be thrown into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the just will shine, like the sun, in the kingdom of their Father. If you have ears, then hear.”

Tuesday, 28 July 2020 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 78 : 8, 9, 11, 13

Do not remember against us the sins of our fathers. Let Your compassion hurry to us, for we have been brought very low.

Help us, God, our Saviour, for the glory of Your Name; forgive us for the sake of Your Name.

Listen to the groans of the prisoners; by the strength of Your arm, deliver those doomed to die.

Then we, Your people, the flock of Your pasture, will thank You forever. We will recount Your praise from generation to generation.

Tuesday, 28 July 2020 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Jeremiah 14 : 17-22

This you will say to them : Let my eyes shed tears night and day without ceasing! For a great wound has the virgin daughter of my people been wounded, a most grievous wound. If I go into the country, I see those slain by the sword. If I enter the city I see the ravages of famine. For the prophet and the priest did not understand what was happening in the land.

Have You then rejected Judah forever? Do You abhor Zion? Why have You wounded us and left us with no hope of recovery? We hoped for salvation but received nothing good; we waited for healing, but terror came! YHVH, we know our wickedness and that of our ancestors, and the times we have sinned against You.

For Your Name’s sake do not despise us; do not dishonour the throne of Your glory. Remember us. Do not break Your Covenant with us! Among the worthless idols of the nations, are there any who can bring rain, or make the skies send showers? Only in You, YHVH our God, do we hope, for it is You Who do all this.

Monday, 27 July 2020 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day all of us heard the readings from the Scriptures in which we heard the manifestation of God’s anger at His people’s disobedience and lack of faith as they constantly and consistently refused to listen to Him and continued to follow the path of sin instead of the path of the truth. Through the prophet Jeremiah, the Lord wanted to make it clear to His people that it was by their stubbornness and refusal to believe in Him that they would face ruin and destruction.

And the destruction did come upon the people of God, of both Israel and Judah, crushed by their enemies and exiled from their lands, as a result of them putting their trust in their own might and power, in worldly power and alliances, in their pagan idols and gods rather than to trust in God. God had sent so many prophets and messengers to them, showed them signs and revelations and yet they still would not believe.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard something similar to this as the Lord spoke to His people in parables, teaching them about the kingdom of heaven and its meaning. And the Lord highlighted to His disciples that He always taught in parables and spoke in cryptic terms so as to both reveal the meaning of the truth He brought to those who are willing to listen to them, and to hide them from those who have hardened their hearts and refused to listen to Him.

This brings us then into the realisation that unless we are willing to embrace the Lord and His ways, then we will not be able to appreciate fully His truth and love, and we will not be able to embrace Him fully as we should have. And this is also shown through the parable that the Lord used in explaining the kingdom of heaven, the parable of the mustard seed and the parable of the yeast and three measures of flour.

In all these parables, the Lord brought forth the fact of how those little things like mustard seed and yeast, mustard seed being one of the smallest among the seeds and yeast being very small and microscopic in size, were able to grow into immense proportions beyond imagination. The mustard seed grow into a relatively large tree with many branches while the yeast allow the dough to rise quite significantly in size.

The significance of this is such that subtly, the Lord is telling us that we need to make ourselves small and insignificant before God, minuscule and tiny, if we want to grow and be truly great before Him. It is by discarding all sorts of pride and greed, ego and ambition, selfishness and hubris, and instead embracing humility and meekness that we will be able to grow in faith. Unless we humble ourselves, we will be too full of ourselves to be able to nurture ourselves with the love of God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, then, similarly, for the mustard seeds to grow and for the yeast to be able to make the dough to rise, they require specific conditions that if not fulfilled, then those things will not be able to happen. The mustard seeds need water, the right temperature and oxygen in the air to germinate, and later on will also need nutrients from the soil and sunlight to grow well into a great tree. Similarly, yeast also need the absence of oxygen and warm conditions for them to be able to function and make the dough rise. If the conditions are not fulfilled for either of them, then nothing good would have come out of them.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, are we able to live faithfully in God’s presence so as to provide the best condition for ourselves to grow in the sight of God, to grow like the mustard seed and to rise like the dough with yeast? We are all called to be good and fruitful Christians in life, and we should indeed do what we can to serve God and to dedicate ourselves to Him and to His ways, to be righteous and to be exemplary in how we act in our everyday living that by our faith, we become God’s shining examples.

Let us all therefore not harden our hearts and minds as what the people of God had once done, and instead, allow God to enter into our hearts and minds by making ourselves small before Him, humbling ourselves and dedicating ourselves to Him with all of our heart and with all of our strength. May the Lord be with us always and may He strengthen us all each and every moments of our lives that we may truly grow well in the faith and bear wonderful, bountiful fruits, now and always. Amen.